GPs warn that vaping is ‘trading one public health disaster for another’

Heart Foundation chief executive David Loyd said the country is in a “sliding door moment” as he urged the government to stand the line, including by tightening import controls and demanding a regulated source for vaping products.

“Australia is already full of black market vapes and e-cigarettes due to a lack of regulation and enforcement. We must act now and stop sleepwalking into what may be the greatest public health disaster of the 21st century,” he said.

“It’s just ‘smoking 2.0’.”

David Lloyd, CEO of the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation’s submission states that routinely providing young people with vapes is “directly helping a new generation become addicted to nicotine, a chemical known to lower blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to the heart, and a narrowing widens the arteries”.

The Foundation supported banning all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco, calling for simple packaging, reducing nicotine levels in products and banning single-use devices.

They argue that the government could never stop young people from using the products under the current conditions, as a licensing framework is the only way to stop the booming black market.

Both are supporters of the Responsible Vaping Australia movement, led by British American Tobacco. A spokesman for BAT said it had not made any submissions to TGA.


The Pharmacy Guild, which represents community pharmacies, opposed the consumer model, calling for limited vape flavors to reduce appeal, as well as simple packaging and a ban on single-use products.

“The Guild recognizes that [e-cigrarettes] are not first-line drugs to aid in smoking cessation and that there is little to no evidence to support their effectiveness,” the filing reads.

“However, in the interests of public safety, the Guild supports proposed reforms to tighten regulations [e-cigarettes] in aid to reduce black market sales, unauthorized supply and use of such products by young people.”

The best way forward is to ensure that vapes continue to be regulated as therapeutic goods, while the government works with healthcare professionals to regulate a broader black market supply in Australia, including illegal retail sales.

Butler will be meeting with the state and territory secretaries of health on the matter once the TGA review is complete.

Break through the noise of federal politics with news, perspective and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up for our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here. GPs warn that vaping is ‘trading one public health disaster for another’

Callan Tansill

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